During our February 2012 free webinar, Helping Your Staff and Board Become Great Nonprofit Marketers, I suggested that nonprofit marketers start by working with their staffs and boards to make sure that everyone was comfortable answering some basic, conversational questions about the nonprofit. The question is in bold, and the "marketing speak" for why it's important is in parentheses.

What do you do? (Gets to the elevator speech)

What makes the organization special? (Gets to your "positioning statement" or niche -- how you are different from others working in the field)

Whom do you help? (Gets to clearly defined groups of supporters/participants or "target audiences")

How do you do that? (Can be an expansion of the "positioning statement" or more like a "value proposition" where you outline the benefits to your supporters/participants.)

After we discussed these four questions, I took two polls, with about 300 nonprofits participating in each poll. I asked participants to rate their confidence in how their staff members and board members would respond to these questions.


How confident are you in your staff's answers

How confident are you in your board's answers

As you can see, nonprofits are clearly more confident in how their staffs would answer than their boards. Even so, there is still plenty of work to do at the staff level too.

These are four basic questions that everyone -- everyone -- who works for your nonprofit and serves on your board should be able to answer easily and competently at a cocktail party, in a grocery store aisle, at a meeting with other community leaders, and in a formal presentation.

Need help with this? Watch a recording of the webinar to get started.